Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Samhain/Fall Equitherm Altar 2023

altar, sabbat, Samhain, Halloween, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

Samhain, or the Fall Equitherm, is often referred to as the Witch's New Year. This is the time of death and the great slumber before eventual rebirth, symbolizing the end of the old and the beginning of the new. It is the last of the harvest festivals, the last push to increase stores before the winter months. After Samhain, the fields are left to fallow, any remaining crops left untouched as it was believed to be bad luck to partake in foods touched by the Devil.

The veil is also incredibly thin during this time, allowing for travel to and from the Otherworld and communication with spirits and our ancestors incredibly easy. In some traditions, the time surrounding Samhain is the only time the dead may walk once again upon this Earth. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that our ancestors used this time to honor their ancestors and guard against malevolent ones. Gourds, pumpkins, turnips, and other vegetables were carved to ward off evil spirits and guide loved ones home. Table settings were placed for the deceased and honored during silent suppers.

While most witches celebrate Samhain on October 31st or All Hallow's Eve, astrologically Samhain falls on November 7th this year, meaning if you didn't get to do all you wanted on October 31st, you have yet another opportunity to celebrate! This year's Samhain altar sticks to the general theme of the sabbat, focusing on spirit communication, ancestral magic, the final harvest, death, and endings.

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1. Goat Skull- I have to give a huge thanks to my friend, Abby, who so graciously gifted me with this lovely goat skull earlier last year. It is certainly one of the best gifts I have ever received and I was so excited to place it on my altar again this year. Goats are associated with fertility, virility, and lust, as well as independence, ambition, and persistence. Even against all odds, goats will give everything they have, reminding us to persevere even in the face of darkness. Goats also represent the Horned God and are often associated with the Man in Black, the Devil, or Witch King. During Samhain, it isn't uncommon for witches to recommit themselves to their craft which sometimes includes brokering deals or offering yourself over to the Man in Black. (Where did I get it: Gifted; Cost: Free)

altar, sabbat, Samhain, Halloween, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

2. Roses & Yarrow- Yarrow was one of the first funerary herbs ever used by humans, its pollen being found in graves some 60,000 years old. While some debate whether or not this pollen was intentionally placed, it matters not. Yarrow has long been connected with death and our transition to the Otherworld. Yarrow has the ability to anchor us in reality while opening the lines of communication between the living and the dead. It is most often used to see the unseen and is therefore used in spirit communication and during divination rituals. Roses, on the other hand, are deeply associated with love and are commonly placed at gravesides or on ancestral altars to honor our deceased loved ones. Roses have also been used to enhance divination and protect against the evil eye, making them a potent flower to adorn a Samhain altar. (Where did I get it: Garden; Cost: Free)

altar, sabbat, Samhain, Halloween, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

3. Black & Yellow Candle and Tea Light in Leaf Candle Holder- To the left of the altar is a large black and yellow candle with a smaller leaf candle holder in front. Traditionally, candles were lit to help guide spirits to the right home on Samhain night, which is the reasoning behind these candles. The black and yellow candle represents the dead inside the Underworld and its flame is used to communicate with the dead during a ritual. The white candle, on the other hand, represents the Sun who has officially died, and is used to guide my ancestors to my altar while providing protection against unwanted spirits and guests. The leaf represents the changing season and the leaves that litter the ground during this time. (Where did I get it: Black & Orange Candle- Blagowood; Cost: Won/Free (originally- $13.50); White Candle and Holders- Dollar Tree 2020; Cost: $1)

4. Clear Quartz Tower, Snow Flake Obsidian, Smoky Quartz, Labradorite, Black Kyanite, and Amethyst- Samhain is a time for spirit communication and ancestral veneration. It's also a time when unwanted and unwelcome spirits roam freely. Smoky quartz helps ground and protect while enhancing communication with spirits. Black kyanite increases clairvoyance and helps with astral travel such as hedge riding, as well as past life work. Snowflake obsidian grounds and protects, just like smoky quartz, but also helps to balance and focus during spirit work. Labradorite enhances intuition, making it easier to communicate with the spirit world while the veil is thin. Amethyst, like black kyanite and labradorite, enhances psychic ability and opens the mind to communicate. The clear quartz tower is there to amplify the magic of this altar, making it easier to engage safely in spirit work, and astral travel. (Where did I get it: Various Metaphysical Stores; Cost: $15)

altar, sabbat, Samhain, Halloween, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

4. The Beast Tarot Card- Like last month, I placed an Over the Garden Wall tarot card on my altar. It is my favorite TV show of all time, and my go-to when I am struggling with anxiety and insomnia. The Beast represents death, despair, hopelessness, and surrender. His entire purpose is to feed upon hopelessness, using others' surrender to keep his lantern lit. Samhain is a time of darkness and sometimes even hopelessness, but even in the darkest of places, one can still find the light, much like the Beast's lantern. Even when things seem completely hopeless, dawn comes, reminding us that death is only the beginning. (Where did I get it: Etsy; Cost: ~$30)

6. Ansuz & Algiz Runes- Ansuz is Odin's rune, and therefore associated with insight, true sight, visions, and spirit communication. As the veil thins, this is the perfect time to engage in such spirit work. The Algiz rune is commonly viewed as the life rune and is associated with the elk. This year, I left it upright, to symbolize life, as well as protection and defense. Furthermore, the Algiz rune resembles a hoe, rake, or pitchfork used in the harvesting of crops, connecting the rune further to Samhain as it is the final harvest festival of the season. (Where did I get it: Blagowood; Cost: Won/Free (originally- $30 for set)

altar, sabbat, Samhain, Halloween, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

7. Coyote Claw- The coyote is associated with death, transformation, resilience, and cleverness, as well as protection and strength, symbols of the Samhain season. I picked a claw, instead of a skull, to provide protection as well as to help me cut through the veil, making spirit communication easier. (Where did I get it: Gift; Cost: Free)

8. Ivy- Traditionally, ivy represents wealth, abundance, and fertility. While Samhain is a time of death, it is also the final harvest. Many crops are finishing their harvest season, the last push before the weather turns sour. Our ancestors heavily relied on these final crops of apples, pears, squash, and corn to make it through the winter months. As such, the ivy represents this final abundance of the season, helping to ensure there is plenty for the coming months. (Where did I get it: Dollar Tree; Cost: $1.25)

altar, sabbat, Samhain, Halloween, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

9. Hekate & Orange Candles in Moon Phase Candle Holders- For my birthday this year, my best friend gifted me some wonderful Hekate candles that I knew would be perfect for my Samhain altar. Hekate is the goddess of witches, lantern bearer, keeper of keys, protector, queen of the crossroads. She is also associated with death, ghosts, and necromancy, making her the perfect goddess to be honored during Samhain. I chose to place these two candles, along with a beeswax orange candle, which symbolizes the changing leaves, ripening gourds, and transformation, in my new moon phase candle holders. The moon is associated with transformation and change, which is what awaits us as the final harvest ends and the Wheel turns again. (Where did I get it: Gift/Home Goods 2023; Cost: $20)

altar, sabbat, Samhain, Halloween, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca


Like my other altars, most of the items I use are found, made, or purchased for around $1, although if the items must be purchased by you, then the cost will be higher. I hope you find this sort of breakdown helpful, especially for those of you looking to create Instagram-perfect altars on a budget! This particular altar is mostly constructed with items I won, found, or that were gifted to me. You don't need expensive items to create a beautiful, magical altar. Items found or created by you are much more powerful than ones purchased simply to adorn an altar.

altar, sabbat, Samhain, Halloween, witchcraft, witchy, hedgewitch, pagan, neopagan, wiccan, wicca

Did you do anything special for Samhain this year? Any plans for the astrological date? I hope you all have a wonderful "new year!" May your winter be cozy and plentiful.

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